AT&T Looks to Tap into $1-Billion Cybersecurity Market Opportunity

By Tony Rizzo November 14, 2012

Here’s a very interesting thing to take note of: According to Frank Jules, president of AT&T's Global Enterprise unit – which he noted today on the opening day of Morgan Stanley’s Fall 2012 Technology, Media & Telecom Conference 2012 being held in Barcelona, Spain – global attacks on AT&T networks have doubled in the past four months, and now tend to be more targeted to evade detection.

Such an escalation in attacks is hardly a comforting thought, either for individuals or for businesses that rely heavily of companies such as AT&T for a variety of enterprise services that range from mobile capabilities to substantial cloud-based services.

"We see them on a daily basis and they are now getting smaller instead of coming in huge waves, which were easier for us to detect," Jules said. Apparently, hackers are becoming far stealthier in their hacking and security break attempts. And they’re not doing so by creating massively scaled attacks that might cause widespread denial of service scenarios or large scale grabs of data such as massive numbers of credit card details – which create headlines but which, more often than not lead to quick resolutions simply because they quickly become known.

Instead, hackers are now scaling back their hacking and break-in/breaching of the walls efforts in order to do exactly the opposite – create as little attention as possible (preferably none), and then set about keeping their activities going for extended periods of time.

Yet again, hardly a comforting thought, especially for businesses. AT&T plays a very active role in securing all of its wireless and wireline networks, but even if AT&T had the absolutely most secure defenses in place, the truth of the matter is still that it is the enterprises that need to be very proactive in ensuring that they are providing the tightest possible security and defenses.

AT&T’s point today, however wasn’t one in which it was suggesting or warning that enterprises take effective anti-cybersecurity hacking action. Rather AT&T’s point is that cybersecurity is something that AT&T can and should be able to profit off of in a significant way.

Given the venue and event at which Jules spoke today, this is hardly surprising.

"Every chief information officer at major corporations that I meet wants to talk about security. Based our conversations I can say that companies will double or triple spending on cybersecurity in the coming years as attacks grow more sophisticated and frequent. I think this will be a $40 billion market one day globally.”

Jules believes this $40-billion global market will in turn create enough opportunities for AT&T to create a billion-dollar business opportunity for AT&T. It is a reasonable enough assumption on Jules part, we believe.

Jules also noted that a key piece of AT&T's strategy is for its global business solutions unit to accompany big multinationals as they expand overseas. Security at the multinational level is inherently complex and should prove to be a profitable endeavor.

Jules suggested as well that security offerings would compliment added connectivity, new products and services (like security), as well as  machine-to-machine technology, which puts mobile SIM cards into everything from cars to vending machines.

Edited by Braden Becker

TechZone360 Senior Editor

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